In a statement made on Sunday, the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo revealed that the number of children dying of the Ebola infection has increased dramatically in the recent weeks. Jessica Ilunga, the ministry spokesperson said that the traditional medical professionals of the country are largely responsible for the situation. Many children, getting treatment for a malaria infection contract Ebola at the traditional healing centers where Ebola patients are also treated. Ebola affects children, but here an unprecedented number of them get infected because of the bad hygiene conditions that exist in the clinics. The situation has accelerated the Ebola-related death rate in the last few weeks.
Children who get admitted in the traditional clinics for treating malaria come out and die after a few days showing the symptoms of Ebola, she added. The reason is that traditional healers use the same implements to treat everyone. One major factor behind the spread of the disease is the direct contact with body fluids of an infected person. The hygiene conditions in such clinics facilitate this. Unless steps are not taken immediately the condition could worsen, and lead to a second wave of the outbreak which may soon become uncontrollable, she added.
Most of the child death cases are reported from the northeastern city of Beni, which is fast becoming the new epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. Of the 120 cases where Ebola is confirmed, 30 are children under 10 years and 27 of them are already dead, according to the data provided by the ministry. Last Saturday, 9 cases of Ebola were reported, 7 in Beni and 2 in the city Butembo, also in the northeast. This was the biggest one-day figure to be reported after the outbreak was confirmed on the 1st of August. The disease has already claimed 164 lives in Congo this year, and it would lead to a health crisis in the country if drastic preventive measures are not taken.